If you’re a regular here, then you’re probably used to reading all sorts of educational posts about homeschooling, finding resources like unit studies, and so much more. For this post, we wanted to provide a different perspective and let a homeschool mom share her thoughts and experience with Time4Learning. Whether you’re new to homeschooling or just shopping around for a new curriculum, sometimes it helps to hear it straight from someone who has been in your shoes to get a better understanding of how a program works, how it can help you homeschool, and give your child the tools to succeed.
Here’s one homeschool mom’s experience using Time4Learning:
Let me start with the basics. Time4Learning is an online curriculum for PreK-12th grade that teaches math, language arts, science and social studies. Each student has their own individual account that they can log into anytime, 24/7. The flexible, self-paced format allows students to progress at their own pace and learn how and when it’s best for their unique needs. Because of this, the curriculum works with students with various learning styles and even with different homeschool styles such as eclectic, classical, and roadschooling, just to name a few.
Time4Learning is fee-based and billing is on a month-to-month basis. There are no contracts whatsoever! For students in grades K-8, the cost is $19.95 per month with a discounted price of $14.95 for additional students. High school is $30 a month per student and includes any four courses you choose. You can add additional courses for an extra $5 a month.
Families can start Time4Learning any time of the year and use it as long as they need, whether it’s for your child’s entire academic career, a few years, several months for summer learning, or even throughout the school year for afterschool help. You can even put your membership on pause if you’re looking to take an extended break but don’t want to lose your child’s records or their place within the program.
The Time4Learning curriculum is set up in a way that builds on itself. Much like a textbook, the material is broken down into chapters. Each chapter is made up of lessons and within those lessons are activities. Both graded and non-graded, the online activities teach the material and then help students practice what they’ve learned. I personally love that my kiddos can repeat these activities and practice the concepts until it sticks. You’ll usually find quizzes, tests, or a combination of both throughout each chapter. Students can even retake those assessments if they scored a low grade, and the program automatically averages out their grade.
My family loves Time4Learning because it’s so flexible. My kids can log in anytime, 24/7. We usually do school work four days a week, but if we decide to take a field trip during the week or take a day off, we can easily make the work up another day or even on the weekend. Since my kids are a little older, they are usually logged on for about two to three hours a day, which may sound crazy to some, but think about it, there aren’t 25 other kids around and they are receiving one-on-one instruction. This cuts down on tons of wasted time and constant interruptions.
We normally start the day pretty relaxed. The kids eat breakfast, pick up their rooms and make their beds. After that, they usually read whatever book they are currently into for about 15-20 minutes. They usually log into Time4Learning mid- to late-morning. Although the work is presented in a suggested sequence, Time4Learning also gives parents the option to create schedules for their students. I’ve used these activity planners in the past and they are great for keeping kiddos on track and helping your family stick with a schedule.
If your kiddos are on the older side like mine (upper elementary and middle school), you’ll probably find that they can work pretty independently. But of course this all depends on your children’s ages and/or any special needs. The program is pretty straightforward and simple to follow, and it’s been my experience from speaking with different families, that their children manage very well on their own.
Although my children work well on their own, I like to check in on them throughout the day to get a glimpse of what they are working on. I can also log into my parent dashboard to preview lessons, which is very helpful since I can get a sneak peek. I also have access to lesson plans that give me tons of details on every activity. Once my kids are done with Time4Learning, we usually talk about what they learned that day and I ask if they have any questions or anything they would like to go over.
Depending on what my kiddos are working on, we try to find hands-on projects that we can do at home. Time4Learning’s science curriculum offers tons of ideas for projects. We are regulars at our local library and love to rent DVDs and check out books to enhance what they are learning. My daughter loves animals and enjoys watching documentaries, while my son is into space travel and looks forward to every televised launch.
Many families new to homeschooling wonder how much work is involved on the parents’ part, especially when it comes to teaching things like writing, math, chemistry, or any other subject that they may not feel comfortable teaching. This will vary depending on the curriculum you choose, but Time4Learning takes care of so much for you.
In addition to teaching the material, Time4Learning also grades and keeps records of your child’s work, including dates (great for attendance!), time spent doing work, and so much more. And because the curriculum automatically grades activities and assessments, there is very little for me to do in the way of checking, which I love! I can’t even begin to tell you how much time I save on a weekly basis. I normally log into my parent dashboard two to three times a week to check their progress, make sure everything has been completed for the day/week, and take a peek at their grades on scored activities and assessments.
Another frequently asked question is if Time4Learning is accredited. Accreditation is only applicable to schools, and since Time4Learning is not a school, but rather a curriculum provider, they cannot be accredited. But don’t worry, Time4Learning’s curriculum correlates to all state standards.
I know that getting started homeschooling can be a scary thing. You are taking on a huge task which can seem overwhelming at first, but it’s not as daunting as it seems. As a new homeschooler, you probably have a number of burning questions. Luckily, there are many ways to find help when it comes to homeschooling. It definitely doesn’t look the way it did 20 years ago, and it also doesn’t look like a typical classroom in a brick and mortar school.
Homeschooling can and should look the way you envision it. It doesn’t have to look like another family’s, however, there is so much to learn from others. I am constantly learning from other families, sharing tips and advice on a regular basis. You do what works for you and your children. And with programs like Time4Learning that take care of so much for you, I find that homeschooling allows my family with tons of opportunities to learn together and bond in ways that I never thought were possible.